The Best Advisor Front-Office Technology
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When my career began in 1988, the phone was the top front-office (customer-facing) technology. Since then, the majority of technology investments by financial advisors have bolstered the back office of the business.
For some advisors, including a few I met back in the time when Ronald Reagan was president, the phone is still the technology of choice to communicate with clients and prospects.
Recently, I was on a webinar with an industry practice management guru. Someone in the audience asked, “What is the top front-office technology for advisors?”
To show you where the industry focus has been, this guru could not name a single one!
My answer was easy, but one that may surprise you.
Let me explain.
Why should advisors care about marketing automation?
The high-level goal of marketing automation is to deliver the right content, to the right contact, at the right time, through the right media.
When your clients, prospects and contacts may be exposed to hundreds of competing marketing messages in a day, you must discover a way to cut through the clutter.
Each one of the benefits below is a reason for you to consider a marketing automation solution:
Effectively segment your marketing lists
The majority of advisors have one email list or only the most basic of segments such as “clients” and “other.“
Much better from a marketing perspective is to segment your list into COIs, prospects and clients – and, better still, to go to a deeper level.
Your results would be much more rewarding if you could answer questions like these:
- Which prospects have been referred recently by your best clients?
- Which prospects simply downloaded content on your website a long-time ago?
- Which COIs are active referrers and which are not?
- Which clients are on autopilot? Which ones are you cultivating for more assets and referrals?
- Which clients are new and receiving a pre-determined onboarding communication sequence?
Segmenting your lists is the first step to delivering the right content at the right time. Marketing automation solutions allow you to enter the list management game.
Run successful online and social media campaigns
Most advisor social media efforts fail.
They may broadcast your name and firm, but generate little in the way of prospects or assets.
If you are seeking more social and online leads, automation helps turn your efforts into an activity that builds your business by taking advantage of inbound marketing.
Your digital traffic can be funneled to a specific landing or registration page on your website. That’s how you can turn your website visitor into a lead and eventually into a client.
Automation can also:
- tag your prospect with their interests;
- educate them; and
- warm them up to become eager to meet with you.
Warm up prospects with an automated education and nurture sequence
Suppose you were to generate one lead a day and attempted to manually execute a five-step email warm-up sequence over 30 days. Those simple actions would quickly become overwhelming.
This situation is where marketing automation shines! Here’s how . . .
Let’s say you are strong around comprehensive planning for business owners.
You published an article with links to a landing page for a free report on this topic. Then, your automation software can go to work for you to send an email every week to that prospect in a pre-defined sequence. Those emails could present the different problems you solve for business owners and reveal your solutions.
Basic prospect marketing can also divide prospects into categories such as early, middle and late in the buying process.
The last step in the buying process is typically to request an individual meeting.
If your marketing automation technology can educate potential clients, position your firm’s expertise and move buyers to request a meeting, then you have a 50% chance of closing the sale.
Track results and improve your return on investment
As the famous retailer John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
Marketing automation gives advisors the ability to track what is working and what is not.
Specifically, you can track such metrics as cost-per-lead, total cost to acquire a client, where your clients are coming from, which lists or media are profitable and the return-on-investment by marketing campaign.
Let’s say you are running three marketing campaigns. If you are like most advisors, one may outperform the other two combined but you may not have a handle on which one is your top performer.
Tracking through marketing automation technology allows you to “double-down” on the winners and gain much more ROI from your marketing budget.
Or, let’s say you decide to try out advertising on social media for the first time.
Test with a defined budget – one half of the initial budget on Facebook, for example, and the other half on LinkedIn – and your marketing automation system will show you which media works better for your marketing investment.
What is the catch with marketing automation?
As you may have gathered by now, marketing automation is more the “brawn rather than the brains” of your marketing.
Deliver the right content, to the right contact, at the right time, through the right medium
Where are the heaviest demands on your brain? For most advisors I know, it’s in the decisions about the content they use.
Content permeates your marketing. It includes your email marketing subject lines, the “story” contained in your email and your choice of offers such as a blog article, a webinar, or a free report. And, yes, the title of your blog article, webinar and free report are vital “content” components.
Your content marketing strategy and the actual content you deliver ultimately will win for you more clients and assets under management.
And marketing automation is your best front-office technology to deliver the right content, to the right audience, at the right time through the right media.
Bob Hanson is the co-author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. To get his new special report, 7 Content Marketing Secrets of Highly Successful Advisors, free for Advisor Perspective readers, click here.